RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Jamaal Franklin

Posted by BHayes on June 10th, 2013

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The NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 27, in Brooklyn. As we have done for the last several years, RTC will provide comprehensive breakdowns of 20 of the top collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll generally work backwards and work our way up into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take fromNBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation. This post was contributed by RTC’s Bennet Hayes. He can be found on Twitter @HoopsTraveler.

Player Name: Jamaal Franklin

School: San Diego State

Height/Weight: 6’5”/190 lbs.

NBA Position: Shooting Guard/Small Forward

Projected Draft Range: Mid to Late First Round

Jamaal Franklin is not one to lack in confidence, but will his manic, aggressive game translate to the NBA?

Jamaal Franklin is not one to lack in confidence, but will his manic, aggressive game translate to the NBA?

Overview: After highly productive sophomore and junior seasons, Jamaal Franklin decided the time was now to depart San Diego State for the NBA Draft. The explosive wing helped key the continued success of Steve Fisher’s program, as the Aztecs earned top eight seeds in the NCAA Tournament in each of Franklin’s three seasons there. There is little that is prototypical about Franklin’s game. He is a scoring wing who struggles to shoot the ball from deep (just 28% from three-point range last season) but rebounds the ball as productively as any big (his 26.4% defensive rebound rate was 10th nationally a year ago). Franklin’s unconventional game will undoubtedly undergo some tweaking at the next level, as whispers of an improved jump shot and the nature of the bigger, more athletic front lines in the league should have him spending more time on the perimeter. Adjustments will be needed to reach his potential, but if Franklin continues to display the hyper-competitiveness and endless motor that fueled his prodigious collegiate efforts, whichever team ends up using a selection on the 2012 MW POY should end up a happy buyer indeed.

Will Translate to the NBA: Pairing Franklin’s natural competitiveness with his athletic ability makes him an NBA-ready defender from the get-go. He also graded out very well in measurements at the combine (despite not participating in any activities due to an ankle injury), and although just 6’5”, his seven-foot wingspan should allow him to see time at both the two and the three in the NBA. And while you can rest assured that Franklin will not be rebounding at the clip we witnessed at San Diego State, that length, combined with his superb bounciness, will make him an above-average rebounder from the wing early in his NBA career.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Gorgui Dieng

Posted by BHayes on June 5th, 2013

nbadraftprofiles

The NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 27, in Brooklyn. As we have done for the last several years, RTC will provide comprehensive breakdowns of 20 of the top collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll generally work backwards and work our way up into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation. This post was contributed by RTC’s Bennet Hayes. He can be found on Twitter @HoopsTraveler.

Player Name: Gorgui Dieng

School: Louisville

Height/Weight: 6’11”/230 lbs.

NBA Position: Center

Projected Draft Range: Mid to Late First Round

Gorgui Dieng's overall presence on the defensive end was crucial for the 2013 NCAA Champs

Gorgui Dieng’s overall presence on the defensive end was crucial for the 2013 NCAA Champs

Overview: His ceiling may not be as high as that of many of his draft-mates, but Gorgui Dieng should serve as a safe investment for a team on the back end of the first round. The Senegalese big man spent the last three seasons anchoring the paint for the reigning NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals. Despite never averaging double figures in points per game, he still found ways to deliver significant impact for the Cards. In fact, a legitimate argument could be constructed that Dieng was the most valuable player for the 2013 champs (all due apologies to Russ Smith). The bulk of Dieng’s value came on the defensive end, where his disciplined shot-blocking served as an ideal back line of defense for Rick Pitino’s aggressive, risk-taking approach to guarding the perimeter. And while Dieng may never be mistaken for a prolific scorer on the other end, his offensive game did accumulate some polish over the course of his years at the ‘Ville, as he enters the draft as a capable 12-15 foot jump shooter and an above-average passer for a big man – two skills he could not have been given credit for two years ago. His title game effort against Michigan was a nice summation of his current skill set: eight points (on 4-6 shooting), eight rebounds, six assists, and three blocks. And of course, all those numbers came in a winning effort.  Beyond the talented cast of teammates and his own substantial abilities, it is no surprise that winning followed Dieng to Louisville, as he is the hard-working, high-character type that coaches love to find on their rosters.

Will Translate to the NBA: It should be a quick adjustment to NBA basketball on the defensive end for Dieng. At 230 pounds, he is a bit on the light side for NBA bigs, but he’s a capable, intelligent shot-blocker who always seems to be in the right position. Dieng is a solid athlete who is capable of stepping out to the perimeter and guarding his position there as well, and should also prove relatively adept in pick-and-roll defense, despite existing in a defensive scheme at Louisville that rarely included it as one of his duties. Additionally, it’s no secret that rebounding is one of the most translatable skills from college to the pros, and with Dieng’s top-100 national rankings in both defensive and offensive rebounding rates last year, it’s safe to assume he will prove ready for battle on the NBA backboards relatively early on.

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Breaking Down This Year’s Five Biggest NBA Draft Refusals

Posted by Chris Johnson on April 29th, 2013

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn

The NBA Draft deadline can be a harrowing time for programs, coaches and their ever-vigilant fan bases. Player defections – particularly those of the lottery breed – not only control the fates of specific teams, they create massive rippling effects on college basketball writ large. Based on who does or doesn’t make their talents available to the most exclusively competitive sports league in North America, college basketball takes on a certain median composite talent distinction. Last season, that measure was low, and fans of all kinds made sure to scream and wail and cry foul about the dearth of “elite talent” and the oncoming barrenness of prospective upside on this year’s draft boards. “No dominant team” was a meme raised just as frequently, and by the end of the season, when two of the nation’s most talented teams navigated the predicted upset-laden waters of the NCAA Tournament and staged an epic final game – and when the nation’s “dominant team,” Louisville, actually won the whole thing – the conversation quickly turned to 2013-14.

With McDermott back, Creighton has every reason to be excited about its move into the Big East (Getty Images).

With McDermott back, Creighton has every reason to be excited about its move into the Big East (Getty Images).

That brings us to Sunday’s NBA Draft deadline, the real draft deadline, the one that actually forces players to make decisions about their professional futures, rather than the teethless NCAA-imposed early date created for the supposed benefit of coaches’ scholarship and recruiting calculations during the recruiting spring signing period. There were some notable departures this year, National Player of the Year award-sweeping point guard Trey Burke chief among them, but all in all the final count leaves college basketball with an immensely intriguing selection of returning players that – when mixed with one of the most highest-touted recruiting classes of the past 10 or so years – should produce a general quality of play that far exceeds last season’s occasionally-ugly level. I’ve come up with five players (or pairs of players) whose reappearance in the college ranks will contribute most directly to making this season not only hugely appealing for its freshmen stars – as is often the case in the one-and-done era – but experienced and deep and seasoned enough to produce a boundlessly exciting pool of players and teams. We are going to see a host of really good returning players in college basketball next season, and unlike last year, many of these guys won’t come off as totally unfamiliar. There’s some star power here – as in not in the NBA. Rejoice.

Doug McDermott – Creighton. The end of last season, brought upon by a Round of 32 NCAA Tournament loss to Duke, ushered Creighton into a programmatic transition: Beginning this season, the Bluejays will become members of the new Big East. They leave behind a good but measurably inferior Missouri Valley Conference, and the step up in competition promises to be fierce. It would have been a completely reasonable move for McDermott to stare down the present, understand the rigors of a more challenging conference schedule, the increased defensive attention from better athletes across a larger number of quality teams, and cut loose with program and father-coach after a successful three-year career. It would have made the most possible sense.

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Russ Smith’s Return to Louisville Inspires National Title Repeat Potential

Posted by Chris Johnson on April 25th, 2013

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn

Most of college basketball’s truly elite programs annually grit their teeth and devise creative scholarship and recruiting stratagems to deal with an extremely unfortunate fact of roster life. The very best and most aspirational players usually aren’t in this here amateur basketball thing purely for the fun of it. They have their professional lives, their financial well-being, and that of their family’s, as overriding motivations to have the best and most NBA-translatable college career possible. They want to not only make it to the next level, but survive and enjoy the same unwavering fan support available at the college level (which, let’s just say professional fan bases are… blah) while earning the salary their talents rightfully warrant. Whereas in some cases the money and professional fame and draft stock considerations recommend a player’s departure after two or even one season, others elect to finish out their four years of eligibility in an uninterrupted cycle. These decisions – stay or go; money and bright lights or infectious fan bases and genuine campus pride; David Stern or Mark Emmert – are never easy, and if there ever were a case to illustrate the inner mental tug-of-war wrought in advance of a player’s draft decision, Louisville’s Russ Smith was an A-List prototype.

A return run to the Final Four, and possibly beyond, was made much more likely with Smith's announcement Wednesday (AP Photo).

A return run to the Final Four, and possibly beyond, was made much more likely with Smith’s announcement Wednesday (AP Photo).

Having already banked a Final Four appearance and national championship in consecutive seasons, won over the affection of his previously irascible head coach (to the point of influencing his racehorse naming rights), and scored boundless national media love over an endearingly reckless two years of mercurial point guard play, Russ Smith finished his national championship season with an utterly brutal decision to make: leave or stay? His erratic shooting and often-horrifying decision-making no doubt gave NBA scouts pause, as did his miniature stature and riverboat-gambler approach on the defensive end, but was it even reasonably possible that an eternally unrestrained Smith would boost his draft stock to any measurable degree in a potential return season? What were the chances Smith just was what he was, and anything he did next season wasn’t going to affect his status in such a way as to greatly improve his fortunes at the next level? Smith put the matter to rest Wednesday, and whether you agree with his decision on principle – whether you think it was in Smith’s best interest to cash in on a season that, in Ken Pomeroy’s wonky efficiency world, ranked better than any other last season – the upside for college hoops itself is tough to deny. Smith is back, and with the possible exception of Kentucky and its relentless fan base, everyone can come together in unison: This is a good thing.

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The NBA Draft Is a Complicated Beast; Let’s Just Stay Out of It

Posted by Chris Johnson on April 18th, 2013

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn

Every year brings its share of puzzling NBA Draft decisions, and most of the frustration is typically captured by one underlying theme: he left too early. This year’s draft enigma was confusing for an entirely different reason. It was confusing because Marcus Smart, a consensus top-five pick in next month’s draft, elected to return to Oklahoma State for his sophomore season. The commentary on Smart’s decision has been a disconcerting mix of perplexity, misunderstood motives and an unexpected dose of condescending admonishment, with almost no reactive excitement – the best freshman in college basketball, and one of the best players overall, is returning next season, and no one has anything positive to say about it?! Isn’t this the exact development we spend countless words and digital ink groaning about each and every summer?!

No decision has generated more Buzz than Smart's choice to play another year at Oklahoma State (AP Photo).

No decision has generated more Buzz than Smart’s choice to play another year at Oklahoma State (AP Photo).

The early draft decision headlines have served as collective petri dish dissection of Smart’s purportedly misguided decision. But guess what? Other players are making very important decisions about their professional futures, too, and not all of them are as procedural and predictable and academic as Smart’s relative draft-media monopoly might lead you to believe. I’ll offer you two recent decisions (or non-decisions) that, while nothing close to Smart-level Big 12 rippling waves, will change the ways their respective teams are evaluated entering next season.

First up is James Michael McAdoo, who announced Tuesday he plans to return to North Carolina for his junior season. It’s difficult to fathom now, but McAdoo was once considered among the very best players in the country last summer. He was supposed to help bridge the gap between the Kendall Marshall-Tyler Zeller super team and a new and customarily talented re-tooled Tar Heels group. You probably didn’t hear much about McAdoo last season, for reasons good and not, but as UNC picked up steam in February and into March, and the true latent potential of Marcus Paige and P.J. Hairston began to turn a mediocre transition season into a legitimately scary Third Round proposition, North Carolina offered an entertaining preview of the high-win outfit it can and should rightfully become next season. McAdoo was a major collaborator in coach Williams’ midseason small-ball transformation – wherein UNC eschewed a traditional two-big lineup in favor of using McAdoo at the five and Hairston as a “power forward” – and UNC can rekindle that dynamic next season with a highly touted recruiting class, more experience and a better collective comprehension of the system. The upshot for McAdoo is more wins, a bigger national spotlight and another chance to round out his game for NBA scouts. Good deal.

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On the Injustice That Is the Way-Too-Soon NBA Draft Deadline

Posted by Chris Johnson on April 15th, 2013

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn

Just last week, Louisville and Michigan were playing one of the most entertaining NCAA Tournament championship games in years. Luke Hancock was scorching threes, Kevin Ware was blissfully crutching his way around a confetti-drenched Georgia Dome, and Spike Albrecht was tweeting at Kate Upton. College basketball was just wrapping up another fantastic season. And now, just a week after the final game of the year, some of the nation’s top players have an utterly crucial decision to make: Stay in school or declare for the NBA Draft?

Players deserve more time to conduct research and solicit outside opinions on this pivotal decision (AP Photo).

Players deserve more time to conduct research and solicit outside opinions on this pivotal decision (AP Photo).

Decisions like this – decisions that could have lasting implications on a player’s earning power and academic and professional futures – are not trivial matters to be pushed aside. Other than maybe choosing a college, deciding when to leave college and pursue one’s athletic dreams at the professional level is probably the biggest decision any of these kids have ever made. It requires calculated reasoning and a thorough investigation of the potential costs and benefits. This isn’t the case for everyone; some guys have it easy. For Shabazz Muhammad, leaving UCLA after one season will go down as one of the least surprising one-and-done jumps of all-time. Others face competing interests, unwavering loyalties and strong ties to teammates and coaches. Some just love being in college, particularly at “basketball schools” where the hardwood practitioners are afforded demi-god levels of celebrity. What’s so bad about unrivaled popularity and social stature, anyway?

The real process is a lot more complicated than that. Financial hardship often forces players to leave school earlier than they otherwise would have. A hot shooting streak during the NCAA Tournament sends them flying up draft boards, rapidly and prominently enough that not entering the draft could leave a prospect regretting a major missed opportunity after the fact.

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Texas Sophomore Myck Kabongo Will Enter the NBA Draft

Posted by Nate Kotisso on April 13th, 2013

You could see this coming from a mile away. Texas sophomore guard Myck Kabongo announced his intention to enter this June’s NBA Draft, foregoing his final two years of eligibility in Austin. When he arrived on campus in 2011, Kabongo was a five-star prospect according to recruiting services like Scout, ESPN and Rivals. He made an immediate impact, averaging 9.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game in 34 starts for a Texas team that slid into the NCAA Tournament as a #11 seed.

He gone. (TexasSports.com)

He’s gone. (TexasSports.com)

His second season didn’t start off the way he would have liked. The NCAA investigated Kabongo for receiving an impermissible payment related to an offseason workout hosted by Rich Paul, an agent to former Longhorns Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph. Kabongo was ruled ineligible for the first 23 games of the regular season but made the most of what little playing time he had, averaging 14.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game, all career highs. So why would he even consider a return for a junior campaign? Sheldon McClellan, the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.5 points per game, has already decided to transfer. Javan Felix, who filled in for Kabongo as a starter this season, will get plenty of competition from two incoming freshman players in Kendal Yancy-Harris and Isaiah Taylor at the point guard slot. But Texas has other issues, most notably the lack of shotmakers on the team except for Julien Lewis. On the inside, Cameron Ridley has shown very little offensively and his overall impact on games has been disappointing for a player with his size.

The winner in all of this is obviously Kabongo because he’ll get drafted and become a multi-millionaire. The loser is Texas, which is facing another season where the NCAA Tournament looks unlikely unless some surprises step up unexpectedly from Rick Barnes’ roster.

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Very Different Paths Connect Top Prospects Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers to the Hornets

Posted by EJacoby on July 3rd, 2012

Before the 2011-12 college basketball season began, two freshmen entered with a buzz far louder than any other newcomers. Anthony Davis of Kentucky and Austin Rivers of Duke were the top two consensus recruits, each heading to blueblood schools with preseason Top 10 hype and national title aspirations. One full year later, the stud prospects are now new teammates with the New Orleans Hornets after being selected with the team’s two lottery picks during the 2012 NBA Draft. But their journeys couldn’t have been any different along the way, with narratives that read nothing like what we expected during their high school recruitment. We’ll detail how Davis and Rivers have traveled such different paths over the past few years yet find themselves united again as the expected saviors for a program – this time as teammates.

Austin Rivers and Anthony Davis (right) went from competing top prospects to now- NBA teammates (AP Photo/K. Maloney)

Anthony Davis stands 6’10″ today, but just three years ago he was a middling 6’2″ guard on a bad high school team. For his first two-and-a-half years at Perspectives Charter School in Chicago, he wasn’t even on the radar as a top college prospect. An average guard on a struggling team in a poor league, Davis couldn’t draw any scouts to his games. Austin Rivers, meanwhile, was already busy in the spotlight. The son of former NBA point guard and current Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, Austin was a recognized recruit since the days he spent lounging in the Boston locker room before Celtics games as a 14-year-old. While Davis struggled in the Chicago Public League in 2010, Rivers was leading his Winter Park (FL) High School to a state title, with 23 points in the championship game. Months later, he was the star player of Team USA’s U-18 gold medal squad at the FIBA Americas, scoring a team record 35 points in one win over Canada.

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Bidding Them Farewell: Paying Homage to the Undrafted College Seniors

Posted by EJacoby on July 2nd, 2012

The NBA Draft is only two rounds long, so it’s quite difficult to crack the top 60 eligible draftees into the league in a given year. It’s even more challenging for graduating seniors, who not only compete with younger collegians but also foreign prospects from around the world who possess greater ‘upside’ in the minds of NBA evaluators. Constantly in search of the next hidden gem, general managers tend to overlook the players they’ve watched over the past four seasons in college. Only four seniors were picked in the first round during last Thursday’s draft, and while another 17 made it into the second there was still a large pool of graduates who didn’t hear their names called. There were far more than 21 impactful seniors in college basketball last season, and we’re here to honor the careers of those who didn’t get selected. We won’t forget the contributions of these following players, and with hard work and a little luck they should have a strong chance of cracking an NBA roster in the future.

Kevin Jones had a brilliant college career but wasn’t recognized on draft night (Getty Images)

  • Kevin Jones, West Virginia – A career that included a trip to the Final Four as a sophomore and leading the Big East in scoring and rebounding as a senior wasn’t enough to merit consideration by the NBA. Jones averaged 19.9 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks last season on 50.9% shooting from the field and 78.0% shooting from the line while also making a three-pointer per game. He also led the conference in Offensive Rating, this all coming on a squad with little offensive help elsewhere.
  • William Buford, Ohio State – Buford was a McDonald’s All-American guard with prototypical 6’6″ size who averaged double figures every season at Ohio State, making two Sweet Sixteens and a Final Four. He shoots it well and has shown a strong tendency to fit into an offensive scheme with other talented scorers, but his inability to take over games perhaps made him overlooked by scouts.
  • Scott Machado, Iona – Machado led the country in assists last season (9.9 per game) while also reaching career highs in points, rebounds, steals, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage as the leader of an at-large NCAA Tournament team. Even in a weak point guard draft, no team pulled the trigger on Machado, but he’ll have a great chance to dazzle in Summer League as one of the more polished floor leaders. Read the rest of this entry »
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Winners & Losers On Draft Night: The College Perspective

Posted by EJacoby on June 29th, 2012

The 2012 NBA Draft has come and gone in what was a fairly quiet night in terms of trades around the league, but Thursday could also become an historic draft given how deep the pool of talent was. We may look back on this draft as one of the great ones in recent history, but that remains to be seen. For now we can take a look at the immediate winners and losers, and we’d like to run down which schools made the biggest hits and suffered big misses on draft night. For instance, which teams sent multiple lottery picks or were responsible for the biggest risers in the draft? Which teams saw their prospects slip out of the first round or not get drafted at all? Here’s our list of the top five winners and losers last night from the college game.

Tony Wroten, Jr. and Terrence Ross (right) from Washington were both selected in the NBA Draft’s first round (AP Photo)

WINNERS

  • Kentucky – No, John Calipari didn’t get to see six first-round picks this year, as only four of his players cracked the top 30. Marquis Teague slipped considerably and Terrence Jones didn’t make the lottery. Yet all in all, what an historic night it was for the Wildcats. With UK’s Anthony Davis going #1 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist selected #2 overall, it’s the first time ever that college teammates became the top two picks. And when Darius Miller was scooped up at #46 overall, that also became a record with a sixth Wildcat drafted – the most in NBA draft history since the format shrunk from seven rounds to two back in 1989.
  • Washington – The Huskies failed to qualify for last year’s NCAA Tournament, which looks even more shocking now than it did in March. Two Washington players were selected in the first round, including one in the top 10 when the Raptors picked Terrence Ross #8 overall, the third shooting guard to come off the board. Tony Wroten, Jr., landed at #25 as the third point guard selected. A great night for Lorenzo Romar and the program, but remind us again how this team was playing in the NIT last year?
  • The One-And-Dones – Nine college freshmen declared for the NBA draft, and eight of them cracked the first round. Only Quincy Miller slipped, shockingly dropping all the way down to #38, but he still was a high second-round selection. Usually we see at least one or two mistakes from the ‘one-and-done’ crowd (see: Jereme Richmond last year), but all the frosh were good choices. Five of the top 10 picks were from this group.
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Handicapping Lillard’s NBA Chances: How Have Prospects From Mid-Majors Fared in the Pros?

Posted by EJacoby on June 28th, 2012

Looking at the upcoming NBA Draft’s projected lottery picks, most of the players represent the big boys around the nation – Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Florida, Connecticut. But smack in the middle between guys that played in a Final Four is a kid from Weber State. Anybody who follows college hoops or draft scouting surely knows about Damian Lillard, but it’s still surprising to see a player ranked so highly who most fans have never seen play a minute of college basketball. Will Lillard, who is projected to go in the top 10 as the draft’s top point guard, struggle to adapt to the massive increase in competition from the Big Sky Conference to the NBA? We researched lottery picks over the past 15 years from mid-major conferences to judge how successful they were in their transition to the league, grading success based on extended NBA productivity in the form of minutes played and value added. We considered all conferences outside of the top six power leagues as ‘mid-majors,’ so even the Atlantic 10, Conference USA and Mountain West qualify for our criteria.

Will Damian Lillard struggle in his transition from the Big Sky to the NBA? (US Presswire/K. Terada)

Taking a look at recent history, names like Jimmer Fredette and Stephen Curry came from smaller schools yet were still some of the most popular collegiate players in the nation. Just because a player hails from a mid-major school doesn’t necessarily mean he was an unheralded prospect. Nonetheless, the point of our analysis is to determine what, if any, crutch comes along with stepping up from such a wide gap in competition for lottery picks. Even though Fredette was a National Player of the Year winner, he still faced relatively weaker competition on a nightly basis at BYU. Is it more difficult to scout and project success for a mid-major prospect? Let’s take a look at how these players have fared historically. You’ll notice a trend that suggests Lillard should have a great chance at NBA success.

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Draft Day Manifesto: Top Prospect Summaries

Posted by EJacoby on June 28th, 2012

The day is finally here! The 2012 NBA Draft commences tonight at 7:00 PM ET from Newark, New Jersey, at the Prudential Center and is televised live on ESPN. Rece Davis will host the ESPN coverage alongside Jay Bilas, Jeff Van Gundy, and Chris Broussard with field reporters Andy Katz and Ric Bucher also part of the broadcast. While the analysts will offer insight to viewers before and after every selection, there’s much more to know about each prospect than the four or five minutes in between picks. Scouting services like Draft Express and NBADraft.net spend all year preparing for this day with mock drafts on the line, and there are plenty of news sites to consult for in-depth coverage of different players. But here at RTC, we’ve got it all covered for you with full profiles of the top 35 available prospects that include an overview, strengths and weaknesses, player comparisons, scouting takes from Aran Smith at NBADraft.net, and more. Today we’re throwing in a one-sentence description to help you understand each player as he’s perceived heading into draft night. See below for quick references to all of our draft profiles and player summaries.

Draft day is here and the Hornets are on the clock, though we all know who they are taking (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

  • Anthony Davis, Kentucky – Best forward prospect in years with comparisons to Garnett and Russell has elite athleticism, agility, work ethic, and intelligence that leads to versatile contributions on both ends and the most dominant college defender in a decade.
  • Thomas Robinson, Kansas – Polished big man has scary NBA body and passionate work ethic and can contribute right away, but does he have All-Star upside against NBA length in the post?
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky – Youngest player in the draft isn’t a go-to scorer but is an incredibly passionate and athletic small forward who attacks on both ends and does everything his team needs.
  • Bradley Beal, Florida – Tough, athletic guard is the full package on both ends and has All-Star upside if his silky smooth three-point jumper starts falling more consistently in the pros.
  • Harrison Barnes, North Carolina – Never quite lived up to sky-high expectations at North Carolina yet can score 16-20 points easy and remains an intriguing pro prospect with a high ‘floor.’
  • Dion Waiters, Syracuse - Rising prospect is perhaps the most explosive scorer in the draft and scouts hope his tumultuous freshman season is not indicative of his future effort level on and off the court.
  • Andre Drummond, Connecticut – 18-year-old could become the next Dwight Howard or the next Kwame Brown, but his athletic intrigue and unique personality offers upside that he can eventually figure it out.
  • Damian Lillard, Weber State – Top point guard prospect is a knockdown shooter and unselfish floor general, but will he struggle adjusting from the Big Sky to the NBA?
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